Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DIY: Kentucky Derby Hat

The Kentucky Derby is upon us. To some, it means horses, racing and bets. To me, it means hats, hats and bigger hats.

Last year, I threw a Derby party at a local restaurant in town. As the so called "party host," I knew I had to look extra sexylicious and dress the part. I also knew that dressing the part started and ended with the perfect hat. So I shopped around. All over Summit County, and you know what I found? Nothing. Apparently ski resort towns aren't into providing it's locals with awesomely, wide-brimmed Derby hats. #SoAnnoying.

So I did what any crafty girl would do, I looked online. After watching E News, (guilty) I learned the the place to buy Derby hats is Louise Greene, so I checked it out. The hats are obnoxious and perfect and over $300! Yikes!

With my online shopping option gone, I resorted to jumped at the opportunity to DIY a hat. It was actually super easy and didn't turn out half bad. In total, I think I spent about 30 minutes and $30 crafting my homemade hat And, the extra cool part?  The flowers I used are removable, so my "Derby" hat is actually a super sweet beach hat. Bam, double the use!

To start, gather your materials, yo. You will need:
-hat (a wide brim hat is typical for the derby, but you use whatever you want. Go with your bad self!)
-fake flowers
-safety pins
-hot glue (optional- if you want to permanently attach the flowers)

1. Prepare your flowers. I bought my fake flowers at Target because there is no craft store in Summit County. The only flowers they had were also super expensive (at least $10 each), so I got thrifty and found a cute, miniature vase filled with flowers it for $6. (I wish I could have added more flowers, but the extra cost just wasn't worth it for me. You can use however many flowers you want though! You're probably not as cheap thrifty as I am.) Arrange the flowers on your hat and find an arrangement that you like. If your flowers have stems on them, wait to cut them off or start by trimming them in stages. Find the arrangement you like and determine if the stems will make it easier to attach the flowers to your hat.

2. Attach the flowers to your hat. I used safety pins so I could remove the flowers and wear my hat again, sans flower power; however, my flowers moved around a lot throughout the day and I had to fix them several times. If you don't care about being able to remove the flowers, I would suggest hot glueing the flowers on. They will be more secure.

3. Pair your sexylicious Derby hat with a sexylicious outfit. Make all the boys and horses swoon.

 P.S. How I wore my derby hat last year:

Monday, April 29, 2013

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker

I love coffee. Coffee is my friend. Before I drink coffee, I feel like this:

After I drink coffee, I feel like this:

The point is, if you're anything like me, coffee is an important part of the day. And because it's an important part of the day, I have become quite the pro at making it. Although I know most peeps use a coffee maker for their morning java, I'm particular to a french press. I like the french press because it seems more sanitary, it's clean up is easier and it's how the French make their coffee (and I like to pretend I'm a tres chic, french girl). If you haven't used one before, don't be scurred, they're awesome. Try it now!

I digress. What's a girl to do though when she finds herself at 8 a.m., without a french press or a coffee maker (bc she stayed at her bf's house where there is neither to be found)? She gets creative. She learns how to make coffee without either. It's not hard. You can do it!

To make coffee without a coffee maker:

1. Add several cups of water to a medium pot.

2. Add several tablespoons of coffee grinds.

3. Stir the coffee grinds and water together and bring to a boil.

4. Put your coffee cup in the sink.

 5. Put the strainer on top of the coffee cup.

 6. Put a paper towel inside the strainer (a cheesecloth works better if you have it, but I don't, so I used a paper towel, it's ghetto cousin).

 7. Pour the boiling coffee into the strainer. The paper towel should catch the grinds

8. Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee. (Add another cup of cream if you're like me. Yum, cream.)

NOTE: 1 cup of water + 1 tablespoon of coffee grinds = 1 serving of coffee

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Link Love

Cheers to the weekend! I hope everyone has something fun planned. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous (following the foot of snow we got on Tuesday- Colorado is weird), so I'm planning on spending as much time outside as possible. Maybe I'll be able to re-establish my disappearing beach tan. Maybe. In the meantime, enjoy these fun links from the week! xx

Mountains [Yosemite National Park hikes- dedicated to Danimal's vaca there tomorrow!].

Mode [Nanashuka Spring 2013].

How to pin like a pro.

Big cats like boxes too.

^^^And that made me think of one of my favs, Christian the lion.

The FCC supports the F-word.

I'm so obsessed with this wrap skirt. I want it, I want it, I want it!

The best dad ever.

I will definitely make family dinners mandatory one day.

The road to success is often easy messy.

A Bill Murray story nobody will believe.

Remember that Dove Beauty Sketch from last week? Men's version. One point for the dudes.

I love this DIY for upgraded entertaining.

A Cinco de Mango menu. I like it.

Jimmy Kimmel interviews hipsters at Coachella. Hilarious.

I am in love with these sandals! And for only $42? Sold.

Image via everyday Occasions

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thrifted Thursday: The Silk Bomber Jacket

OMG. It's back! Thrifted Thursday. I'm so relieved, aren't you?

Remember that day I told you I hit the motherload while thrifting? Welp, I have just exceeded that day, times 1000. It was good. Reaaaal good. Just to name a few, my goodies included Hudson, Lululemon and Ralph Lauren (the Blue Label, obvi). Bada bing, bada boom. I shall have Thrifted Thursdays for at least the next 3 months. Lucky you.

Today I'm featuring this "Silk" Bomber Jacket from the Gap. I bought it for $8 at Breck Thrift and Treasure, and I'm fairly certain it's going to change my life. It's the kind of light, layering piece that adds  the extra, cool factor to any outfit. Here, I'm dressing-room modeling it with a plain white tank and camel toe colored jeans and I likey. However, I can just as easily picture this jacket with a chic, black dress and perhaps these DIY strappy heels. Don't you think?

Mirrorgram app is legit (please excuse the $ yellow price tag stapled to the collar)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY: Frame Necklace Holder

Since I moved into my apartment last April, I have been hanging my necklaces on nails attached to the wall. Although it obviously looked super classy, I thought maybe the time had come to upgrade the situation. So when I found an old frame at the parent's house last fall that literally spoke to me, saying "Ashley, take meee. Use me as a DIYYY. It's what your mom waaants," I listened, because I had to agree. If I hadn't taken the frame, it's potential would have been wasted. It would have sat in that closet, rotting in a pile of who knows what, any DIY lost forever. So I saved it. And I repurposed it in an excellent DIY. You're welcome Mom.

This DIY was easy. It took me about an hour to complete and I had all the materials but the frame laying around my house. The results were excellent and I've already recieved, like, 15 compliments on it. Now you make one too.

First, gather your materials. You will need:

-empty frame- the frame I used was 18"x22," just make sure yours is long enough for your necklaces
-paint- if you want to change the color of your frame
-hooks- I used 7/8" cup brass hooks, the package I bought was $3 for 6 hooks
-tape measure

1. Measure your frame so you know where to mark your hooks. My frame's inside width was 14 inches, so I marked a dot every 2 inches (Tip: Divide the inside width of your frame by the number of hooks you have + 1 and that equals how far apart your hooks must be).

2. Slightly hammer a nail into each mark. You don't need to hammer it in more than 1/4th of the way. This is to make an indent for your hook, so it will be easier to screw in.

3. Screw your hooks onto where you made each dot. This was extremely tricky for me, as I don't have a ton of upper body strength (I know, it's hard to tell). The trick is to push the hook down and maintaining pressure while screwing. It's a lot to think about, I know, but if I can do it, so can you!

4. Once all your hooks are screwed in, it's time to paint! Grab a drop cloth or old sheet that you don't care about, head outside and paint, paint, paint! I used the leftover spray paint from this DIY, a sexy shade of aqua. My room is totally color coordinating now. I gave my frame 2 coats of paint because it started to snow and I got bored. You could give your frame 1 coat or 2 coats or 5 coats! Whatever your heart desires. Allow to dry for 20 minutes before touching and overnight before Step 5.

5. Assemble your necklaces on the frame! It's easy, you can do it. You can even color coordinate them, like I did (I am apparently very into color coordinating).

6. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with a cocktail. You deserve it.
Yes this was taken right after this DIY. Yes I have palm trees off my deck.
Yes I'm this tan in the dead of winter. No I'm not lying...

P.S. In case you missed them, 2 more frame DIYs (because I'm obsessed with frames for some reason):
*Chalkboard Frame DIY {Part I}
*Chalkboard Frame DIY {Part II}

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Carrot Cupcakes

You know what I like to do when Colorado plays mean tricks on its locals and dumps foot upon after of snow in April? Eat. Specifically? Carrot cupcakes. Let's all eat carrot cupcakes together because eating is totally the best way to get revenge on our state, right?

I digress. You should make these carrot cupcakes regardless (or in spite) of the weather. They are sweet without giving you a toothache. The orange zest keeps them tasting fresh and gives you an excuse to eat them for breakfast. The cream cheese frosting takes them to a whole new level, as cheese, butter and sugar often do. Honestly, these may be the best cupcakes I have ever made in my life. Now that's a big statement. Looks like your just going to have to try them out to see for yourself.

Carrot Cupcakes (adopted from Freutcake- aren't her recipes the best?!)
makes 48 cupcakes


1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp orange zest
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinammon


2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
candied walnuts for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast all of the walnuts in the oven for approximately 5 minutes. While nuts are in the oven, assemble cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Remove walnuts from oven and allow to cool.

Rinse and peel the outer skin from the carrots. Then grate the carrots. (Tip: I used my excellent food processor and it took less than 5 minutes to grate all the carrots. Grating the convential way with a grater takes MUCH longer. Use a food processor if you have one!)

In a large bowl, combine carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and orange zest and whisk thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until just combined (don't over mix). Fold in the walnuts.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until cupcakes are golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in cupcake pan, then remove and allow to cool on a rack completely.

While cupcakes finish cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until incorporated (Tip: If you like cream cheese frosting to be a bit heavier and denser, like me, do NOT over beat. If you over beat, it will be fluffy- which isn't my favorite, but it may be yours).

Frost cupcakes using a pipe with a rounded tip. (Tip: If you don't have a piping bag, use a heavy duty plastic bag, cut a small hole in the end, and tape the tip around the outside of the bag. That's what I do and it works pretty well.) Top the cupcakes with candied walnuts for an extra touch! Be sure to store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

6 Reasons To Love St. Thomas

Well I've been back for a week now and I must say, returning to snow from sand has not been my favorite. To keep from feeling sorry for myself, I have resorted to obsessing looking at my trip photos on repeat. It's becoming a problem, especially because I took, like, a bajillion photos. In order to organize my picts and prove to you why St. Thomas is the most legit island around, I have composed a list of my six favorite things about our little beach getaway. Enjoy.

1. Our sweet vacation home: I took this vacation with the bf and his parents. The house we stayed at belongs to a friend of the bf's parents. It was honestly the coolest place I have ever stayed, with over 180 degree views of the ocean and outdoor bathrooms. (#DoingBusinessOutsideIsFunWhenYouHaveAnOceanView). If you ever make it to St. Thomas, this friend rents out his house, and I highly recommend it. It takes gorgeous views to a whole new level.

Where I performed business daily. It was a pleasure. (There is also a shower, I took this pic standing in it).
2. Lounging is legit: Our daily routine while in St. Thomas usually consisted of morning coffee on the deck. The mornings were especially pleasant because the ocean gives off a cool breeze. After coffee, because we were obvi so stressed and tired, we would lounge by the pool and read for a few hours. It was marvelous.

3. White, sandy beaches and aquamarine water: After we were sufficiently read and rested, we would make our way to the beach. There were two, small, beaches within walking distance of our house, located in Magen's Bay, next to the public beach. These two beaches also happened to be clothing optional, and we may or may not have witnessed two, nude photo shoots.

4. Peterborg Peninsula: At the recommendation of a St. Thomas local, we also explored the peninsula on Peterborg. It was extremely rocky and hard to walk to, but incredibly worth it to see the aquamarine water crash around the rocks surrounding us. I kind of felt like Ariell in that one scene of "The Little Mermaid..."

5. Sailing and snorkeling in St. John: Perhaps my favorite day of the whole vacation, we chartered a sailboat called Daysail Fantasy and went snorkeling on St. John. I have never been sailing before, so that in itself was truly special. The snorkeling took it to a whole new level. St. John is 75% National Park, meaning the island of St. John is much more untouched than St. Thomas. I saw ton of fish including clown fish, rainbow fish, turtles, a shark and an eel! Snorkeling is def my new favorite sport (yes sport, I take it's athleticism to a whole new level- you should have seen my flips).


6. Exploring: On the days when we could take no more sun (meaning me and the sun rash that covered my body), we explored the island in our badass Jeep. FYI, you drive on the left side of the road in St. Thomas; however, the steering wheel is still on the left side. It's very confusing. The roads are also extremely hilly with hair-pin turns and extremely narrow lanes. Not gonna lie, the driving was scary. But having the jeep was great and we were able to explore the whole island. We hiked 99 steps to Blackbeard's castle; we saw the biggest catamaran in the world; we explored the entire island; and everything was unforgettable.

Our trip to St. Thomas was so wonderful and just the relaxation and sunshine I needed. I highly recommend this island to anyone. If you have a trip planned there and have any more questions about where we stayed or what we did, please ask! I love sharing. 

P.S. In case you missed it- an outfit post, direct from St. Thomas.